The Future Looks Bright for SMS

As we chug along through the first quarter of 2015, it’s a good idea to keep an eye on what’s hot on the Internet marketing front. After all, it seems that everyone’s online these days and they’re using their phones to get there. Keeping up on the latest trends goes a long way towards making sure that online marketing efforts are being aimed in the right direction.

SMS, otherwise known as Short Message Service, is one of those trends that’s enormously popular and shows no signs of slowing down. Quite the contrary, actually. Here’s why the SMS marketing scene looks to be all hearts and flowers and unicorns burping rainbows for the foreseeable future.

SMS 101
It’s a bright, hopeful road for SMS these days…

SMS 101

First, let’s make sure we’re all on the same page in terms of what SMS is. Short Message Service involves the transmission of short text messages between IP addresses, fax machines, or mobile phones, in any combination. Each message has a 160 character limit, though it’s more like 140, since Twitter reserves the first 20 characters for a unique user address.

According to “Mass SMS: Where’s It’s Been, Where It’s Going”, the first text was sent nearly a quarter century ago from a PC to a mobile phone, but it’s only in the past decade when the practice became popular. Now it’s the most preferred means of communication on a mobile phone, taking precedence over voice calls.

Why Is SMS’ Future Looking So Good?

The numbers don’t lie. There were 4.08 billion mobile phone users in 2012, which increased to 4.33 billion in 2013, then over 4.55 billion users in 2014. By 2017, experts predict that the total mobile phone usage will reach 5.13 billion users.

Harkening back to the previously referenced article, an estimated 90% of American adults own a mobile phone. In 2014, trillions of text messages were sent and received. For mobile marketers, this is known as “job security”.

Widespread Appeal

Here’s an important distinction to keep in mind: mobile phones doesn’t necessarily always mean smart phones. While smart phone usage is certainly popular (1.75 billion people worldwide now have smart phones, and the number is trending upward), it’s not universal. One of the advantages of SMS is that it’s accessible by all mobile devices, not just smart phones. Your standard, garden-variety cell phone can use SMS messaging with no problem.

For mobile marketers, this is an important point. Marketing promotions need to reach the most people possible, and SMS allows access to the largest audiences, those who’ve embraced the latest smart phone tech, and the die-hard traditionalists who stick by their old reliable cell phone. What’s more, the mobile phone-hating crowd that proudly clings to their desktop PCs is also reachable via SMS texting. It’s truly a medium that embraces Internet users of all stripes.

The Surface Has Barely Been Scratched

Mobile technology is still a new thing. If marketers can accomplish impressive SMS campaigns given the current level of technology, what will they be able to accomplish one, five, ten years from now? It’s akin to the golden age of television, when the medium was young and anything seemed possible.

If you feel inspired to get a little better acquainted with mobile marketing, check out “Know Something Regarding Mobile Marketing.” It would appear that SMS marketing is limited only by the imaginations of the people who create the campaigns. As more of the world jumps on the mobile bandwagon, the potential can’t help but increase. It’s certainly an exciting time to be online and part of the Internet age!

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Born and raised in the Boston area, I was rocketed to New Hampshire, where under the Granite State's yellow sun and lack of income tax, I have gained the powers of super-sarcasm, brilliant creativity, and slightly disturbing sense of humor.

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